Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Media Ignores Massive Costs of Inaction on Climate

As the climate change debate ramps up here in America, I've heard quite a bit of coverage of opponents of progress whining about how solving climate change is going to wreck the economy.  So, they say, we can't take action.

That's like saying that since treating your cancer is going to drain your bank account, it's better to just do nothing about it.  We know what the outcome of that decision would be...

Lest we forget, as David Suzuki point out in this article, that when it comes to solving climate change, the costs of inaction are likely to dwarf the costs of taking bold action now:

Former World Bank chief economist Lord Stern has estimated that to keep heat-trapping greenhouse gas emissions below levels that would cause catastrophic climate change would cost up to two per cent of global GDP, but failure to act could cost from five to 20 per cent of global GDP.

And those are just numbers. In the real world, runaway climate change could have devastating impacts on our water and food supplies, could lead to waves of refugees escaping uninhabitable drought-stricken areas or vanishing islands, and could wreak havoc on the world’s oceans and cause major extinctions of plants and animals. Some of this is already happening.

With all of the promise offered by solutions, we can't stand by and let the traditional media continue to roll out the hackneyed -- and false -- line that taking action on climate change is going to wreck the economy.

Those of us who are familiar with the promise offered by climate change and clean energy solutions need to step up -- in our schools, communities, states and country -- and write letters to the editor, contact your Congressional representatives, and contact your major news networks.  Let them know them what former World Bank Chief Economist, Lord Stern, said about the costs of action vs. inaction.  Tell them that for the sake of all of our well-being, they'd damn well better accurately inform the public about the importance -- and benefits -- of taking bold action now.

If a story on CNN, NPR, MSNBC, Fox, ABC, you name it mentions the cost of the climate bill and its impact on the economy, it should also mention not only the benefits of the solutions to our environment, economy, health and security.  It should point out the costs of doing nothing.  Otherwise, the reporter is guilty of dereliction of duty. 

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1 comment:

  1. this is exactly the reason for Germany's international broadcaster DEUTSCHE WELLE to organize the international conference "The Heat Is On - Climate Change And The Media" 21-23 June 2010 in Bonn, Germany. The media have to raise awareness of the risques of climate change. And the media have to improve the quality of the reporting. Read more on